Action Plan to Fight Corruption and Organized Crime in Montenegro
Podgorica, Montenegro, 19 July 2007
Action Plan for the implementation of the Programme for Fight against Corruption and Organized Crime, adopted by the Government at the session held on August 24, 2006, represents a unique document that defines accomplishment of priorities in the area of fighting corruption. These priorities result from the obligations defined by the European Partnership.
The Action Plan itself includes a set of systemic reforms and a large number of specific measures for strengthening capacities of the state institutions that are implementers of the fight against corruption and organized crime.
Considering that the fight against corruption has been recognized as one of the European Commission’s priorities, the implementation of the Action Plan is of crucial importance for the European integration process, which is why MANS has been monitoring the implementation of the Action Plan measures since the beginning of September 2006 using the Law on Free Access to Information.
During the monitoring period, the competent institutions have been sent over 1200 requests for information and according to the obtained information from relevant public institutions, 27% of the Action Plan measures were implemented, 26% were partly implemented, and 44% were not implemented.
Within the period, September 2006-May 2007, the largest percent of the planned measures were fully or partly implemented by the Directorate for Anticorruption Initiative, followed by the Police Administration, Tax Administration and the State Auditing Institution.
Of all the institutions tasked with the implementation of anti-corruption measures, the Privatization Council has the lowest percentage of implemented measures, and has only partly realized one single measure. In this negative respect, it is followed by the Conflict of Interest Commission, Prosecution, Judiciary and the Public Procurement Commission.
Most of the planned measures related to political and international obligations of acting were not implemented, which poses a significant obstacle to the implementation of other measures defined by the Action Plan, since its first part defines the framework for their implementation, especially regarding the adoption of the new laws and the amendments to the current ones, in compliance with the conventions and recommendations of the relevant international organizations.
The crucial measures related to efficient criminal prosecution that is aimed at combating corruption and organized crime were not implemented. Institutions claim that, within what they monitored, there were no misuses of secret supervision measures, but, at the same time, the control of the measures implementation was not conducted.
Neither the exchange of the information between the judiciary, prosecution and police that was supposed to improve the efficiency of proving corruption cases was established, nor the assessment of the needs for the staff training and the analysis of the human resources situation were performed.
Most of the institutions adopted Codes of Ethics, which were promoted to a certain extent within the institutions, but not among the citizens.
There is no investigation of police corruption, or procedures for reporting corruption of civil servants. Objective employment criteria were not adopted either. The Department for the Internal Control of the police work was reorganized, but neither the training was conducted nor the facility and equipment were provided. The unit for the supervision of the work of the Ministry of Interior’s Police Administration has not started working yet.
Majority of public officials submitted registration of revenues and properties that are publicly available, but the Conflict of Interest Commission did not assess the value of the reported gifts.
The training of civil servants and employees regarding implementation of the Law on Public Access to Information has started, but the Law is implemented with difficulty in the areas of privatization and public spending, and the judicial proceedings tend to last for several months.
Competent state institutions did not conduct public campaigns to fight corruption, and the cooperation among state bodies, media and NGO was not improved. Only one institution developed the integrity plan.
Educational institutions sporadically organize lectures on corruption. NGO sector conducted the training of the media, but the Law on Unlawful Media Concentration has not been adopted yet.
The Ministry of Economy neither conducted the activities related to improvement of fair and competitive business and investment nor did it make the “black” list of the companies sentenced for criminal offence of corruption.
Action plans for fighting corruption at a local level related to competencies of the local government were not adopted.
Incomes of prosecutors and judges were increased, while the training of holders of judicial office is conducted with difficulty. The capacities of the prosecution human resources were not enhanced, and the information system to connect all prosecution offices in the country was not established.
The Police Administration structure was reorganized, but the majority of organizational units have still not been provided with adequate working space and necessary equipment, and the trainings were only partly performed. The Interpol office was opened, but not all the necessary working conditions were provided. The police are not trained to protect persons who report corruption and organized crime, and the mechanisms to protect police employees are not established. The link between the Police Administration and the data bases of institutions and business entities is not provided. The operational fund for providing money for secret supervision measures is not formed.
The independent court budget is not established; the criteria and procedures for appointment of judges are not established, and there is no improvement in the cooperation between the judiciary, prosecution and police. The Court Council has not been established yet, so there is no information on the implementation of the provision on disciplinary responsibility of judges. The electronic system of encoding and distribution of cases has not been established yet, and the Ministry of Justice has partly conducted the supervision of judicial authorities.
The State Auditing Institution still has not conducted the auditing of the Final Budget Statement for the last year. Only a few individual audits were conducted, and the Ministry of Finance did not conduct internal auditing of the budget funds that belong to budget users. The training of the State Auditing Institution staff was partly conducted, but neither the citizen education was conducted nor did the SAI informed the public on the spending of the budget funds.
The procedures for reporting conflicts of interest in privatization were not established; the reports on corruption in privatization were not prepared; the procedures for reporting corruption were not established, and the discretionary authorizations of the Privatization Council members were not defined. The Government formed the working team for citizens’ suggestions and complaints relative to privatization process, but there are no data on its work. The system for control of investments in privatized companies is not established, and the minor shareholders and citizens are not involved in the privatization process. The Privatization Council did not establish the web site, nor did it define the specific procedures for achieving transparency within the appointment of privatization consultants, nor did it organize public debates on privatization. The institutions in charge of privatization process breach the Law on Free Access to information.
The Directorate for Prevention of Money Laundering did not perform reorganization; the new staff was not recruited; the current staff participated in the seminars organized by international institutions. The list of indicators for identifying suspicious transactions was completed, but the seminars and consultations for obligor’s authorized persons and employees who have direct contact with clients were not organized. The individual agreements on cooperation with regional institutions were not innovated, but several meetings were held, and the Agreement on Cooperation with the Central Bank was concluded.
The manual on public procurement is not finished, nor the comparative analysis of the protection of bidder’s rights in the public procurement process. The bylaws were developed and a partial training of the public procurement officers was conducted. The telephone for reporting irregularities was not established, nor were the competent bodies provided with the information on corruption. The electronic public procurement system was not established. The Commission did not make the report on the state of the public procurement system. A few new officers were employed.
The new Law on Conflict of Interest was not adopted, and the definition of a public official does not comply with the provisions of the UN Convention against Corruption. The system for penalizing the breach of the Law was not introduced, and the prescribed sanctions for submitting false data on incomes and properties were not implemented. The Law does not provide the obligation of the Commission to check and determine the validity of the data on reported incomes and properties.
The Tax Administration established the telephone line for reporting corruption, but there are no reported cases. The internal control did not identify any case of corruption within the Tax Administration. The Code of Ethics was adopted, but not a single case of violation was identified. No special investigations on corruption in the tax administration were conducted. No staff rotation in the Tax Administration was performed. The Tax Administration signed agreements on cooperation with the Supreme State Prosecutor and the Police Administration, but it did not provide the police a direct access to the data base and its use.
The Customs Administration established the telephone line for reporting corruption, but the manual for the citizens was not prepared. The researches on the perception of the public were conducted, but not the researches on corruption causes and methods in the customs profession. The training of the officers employed in the Department for Internal Control was not conducted, nor was the Rule Book on its work prepared. The Code of Ethics for customs officers was not adopted. The rotation of the Customs Administration officers was not performed. The consolidated information system was established, but the police are not provided direct access to the data base.
Little has been done about strengthening capacities of the Directorate for Anticorruption Initiative. The informational-promotional activities of the Directorate were based on sporadic publishing of announcements in the printed media. The draft analysis of the consistency of the legislation with the UN Convention against Corruption was prepared, but there was no adjusting of the laws to the international conventions and standards, and only a small number of the GRECO recommendations were implemented.